While a single person might be able to operate all parts of the people function for a small organisation, large organisations are likely to need a bigger people team, including specialist roles in L&D and OD, as well as HR generalists. In a very large, complex organisation, there may be a central people team as well as divisional teams for specific business areas or locations. Large organisations with big people functions can often offer you the opportunity to move sideways to gain experience in different specialities as well as progressing to more senior positions.
For an organisation of a significant size, a people function could include hundreds of individuals working in a wide range of generalist and specialist roles.
There is no one size fits all HR operating model. Structures vary considerably, because what works for one organisation may not work for another.
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In larger organisations, with bigger people functions, there are often multiple different roles for people professionals, including both specialist and generalist positions. What these roles look like will depend on the organisation's needs, varying from one organisation to the next.
Typical responsibilities may include:
- Reward and recognition
- Performance management
- People analytics and workforce reporting
- Detailed financial and payroll planning
- Health and safety
- Contracts and management of outsourced HR providers
- Strategic workforce planning
- Learning and development
- Talent management
- Consultation and support for line managers
- Employee engagement /experience
- Organisational design
Sometimes these can be covered by a single role but, in very large organisations, there is often a whole team dedicated to certain specialisms. However, teams and individual roles may also cover more than one specialist area, such as resourcing and talent management which can often be combined. Likewise, you might also have accountability for employee experience within an organisational development and design role.
Explore some of the different career areas in the people profession
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Find out more about working in the people profession in other types of organisation
The role of a people professional can look different in a smaller organisation and even more so if you work for yourself as an independent consultant.
Find out what HR responsibilities you could be asked to take on in a small organisation
Explore career areas within the people profession, and the typical activities you may find yourself doing
Information and guidance to help you excel in your role, transition into the profession, and manage a career break